May 4, 2007

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

Share the pride

Every year at this time, Catholic Charities agencies throughout the country are asked to complete a survey to collect data about the types of services provided and the number of people receiving services.

The variety of care that is given to the poor and vulnerable and the number of people served are impressive, and should be a tremendous source of pride for all Catholics. As I often say, the work of Catholic Charities is the work of the Church—loving, personal concern given by a few on behalf of us all.

The sheer number of people served each year by Catholic Charities is staggering. In our own archdiocese during the 2006 calendar year, we had the privilege of intervening in the lives of more than 94,577 individuals at a cost of nearly $8 million. Combined with all of the other Catholic Charities agencies throughout the country 7,449,119 people were provided assistance regardless of religion, race or social background.

The numbers tell only a small part of the story because this care may be very brief—as in the form of a single hot meal or a single counseling session—or as extensive as several months of housing for an entire family or a pregnant teenager. The real stories are found in the profound ways that lives are changed and sometimes even saved through our intervention.

The services of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis are provided by six agencies: Catholic Charities Bloomington, Catholic Charities Indianapolis, Catholic Charities Tell City, CatholicCharities Terre Haute, St. Elizabeth/Coleman Pregnancy and Adoption Services in Indianapolis and St. Elizabeth-Catholic Charities in New Albany. Together, these six agencies provide 36 different programs to meet the needs of the poor and vulnerable. A full listing and description of each program can be found on our Web site at

Our staff of nearly 150 full and

part-time employees, combined with 2,504 volunteers giving in excess of 88,000 hours of service, were able to be the hands and feet of Christ to many homeless families, dozens of refugee families seeking to resettle in Indianapolis after escaping persecution in other

war-torn parts of the world, hundreds of school-aged children who have no place to go after school, 35 families who adopted a child, hundreds who received counseling services and more than 300 seniors in need of loving care—just to name a few.

On behalf of the thousands who experienced the love of Christ through our staff and volunteers, I want to thank you. Many of you contribute financially to the work of Catholic Charities through your gifts to the United Catholic Appeal, the United Way or through direct gifts.

In addition, many of you provide much needed prayer support for our work. If you would like to join us by praying for our employees, volunteers and those we serve, you can find our Catholic Charities common prayer on our Web site.

The most common response that I get from people when I speak about the work of Catholic Charities is, “I had no idea we did all that!”

You now have a better idea, and I hope that you will share in the pride of knowing that every day our Church is living out Jesus’ call in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, to serve him by serving the poor.

(David Siler is executive director of the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at†

Local site Links: